Peter and Bobby Farrelly made their reputation with two movies.
“Dumb and Dumber” was so dumb that critics everywhere blasted it for bringing gross-out humor to a new low. “There’s Something About Mary” was a near perfect meld of that same brand of zaniness and a new sort of sweetness. “Stuck on You” is their third movie since then, and it’s the third to sorely miss that balance. It has too much of the sentimentality, and none of the funny.
Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear bring their good-natured charm to the unlikely roles of two conjoined twins. Their bond is much more than physical, though. In fact, this movie is so sickly sweet that these two, who haven’t spent a moment apart and have to do everything together, rarely have an argument. I’ve heard before that conjoined twins can share a bond that’s so strong that they need each other to survive. But it’s almost as if the entire film is some sort of misfit fairy tale in which nobody ever acts like a normal human being would in any situation.
“Stuck on You,” like the Farrellys’ previous film “Shallow Hal,” is obsessed with misfits. The Farrellys must have set out with the specific goal of de-mystifying those members of society who receive unfair treatment—stares included—from mainstream society solely because they are different. This must be the goal, otherwise how does one explain such a softhearted and rosy PG-13 film from the kings of gross-out?
If that was their intention, then I must admit, it is a job well done. The attitude towards these subjects is quite refreshing. But good nature alone is not enough to sustain an entire movie.
Damon and Kinnear are very likable, although, again, entirely unbelievable. The script pounds you over the head with reasons to like these guys. No, let me be more specific. It floods the theater with an embarrassing amount of obviousness and then freeze-frames a well-lit highway billboard sign that reads in all capital letters “DON’T YOU WISH YOU WERE THIS WELL-ADJUSTED?”
So I got that. Conjoined twins are people too. They are capable of amazing things, even more so than people who don’t live with a handicap. But the Farrellys forgot to do one thing. They forgot to make it funny.
If this movie had made me laugh more than once (thanks Matt Damon!), then maybe I would have been able to hang with it for a while. But it didn’t. The set-up was okay, getting to know the brothers and their environment, but it felt long because I was waiting for the laughs to come. They never did. Once the brothers get to Los Angeles, it was your typical fish-out-of-water story. That could’ve been funny. Look at “Elf.” But it wasn’t.
Then it dragged on and on towards the end. The message was a heart-warming one, but it was never funny getting there. Comedies should never be too long, and I really felt the length of this one.
I certainly recognize that “Stuck on You” was meant to be absurd. And I’m not a heartless brute. I like a good cry, or an uplifting sports tale every now and then. But when the sympathy is so overdone and forced, and the manipulation so undisguised, I just can’t enjoy myself. Unless it’s just a dumb comedy like “There’s Something About Mary” that’s really, really funny.
Unfortunately, “Stuck on You” isn’t funny. It’s actually quite disturbing to see that many jokes simply fall flat—like a David Spade movie. And don’t even get me started about that awful, awful, awful musical number at the end, with Kinnear’s poorly lip-synched bebob off-time scatting! What the hell was that?